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2 in 3 Americans thankful to God; most thankful for family: survey

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Unsplash/Irina Murza

Ahead of Thanksgiving Day, which will be celebrated amid the COVID-19 pandemic and following a divisive election, a new survey shows that the majority of Americans still have a reason to be thankful.

The poll from Nashville-based LifeWay Research shows that more than 84% of American adults say they are thankful for their family, 69% are thankful for health, 63% for their friends and 63% of Americans are thankful for memories.

“In a year that has been difficult for most, Americans still express a lot of thanks,” the executive director of LifeWay Research, Scott McConnell, said. “This year of loss and division does not mean people have an absence of good things for which to be grateful.”

On Saturday, the United States surpassed 12 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 255,900 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The LifeWay survey, conducted Sept. 9-23 with 1,200 Americans, says only 33% of Americans are grateful for their achievements on Thanksgiving and 21% express gratitude for their wealth.

The study noted that compared to a 2016 LifeWay survey, fewer Americans were thankful this year for the same options.

Four years ago, 88% of Americans said they were thankful for family, 77% of said they were thankful for health, 71% of Americans were grateful for friends, 51% were thankful for achievement, and 32% of Americans had expressed gratitude for their wealth. 

This year, a majority of Americans are giving thanks to God, with 67% saying they typically give thanks to God, up from 63% in 2016. Sixty-eight percent, meanwhile, say they typically give thanks to family. Only 16% of the respondents are expressing gratitude toward themselves.

“Giving someone else thanks is not a given on Thanksgiving,” McConnell commented. “But four times as many people give thanks to family or God than choose to thank themselves.”

Those with evangelical beliefs (96%) and most self-identified Christians (94%) who attend worship services weekly are most likely to give thanks to God. Among other groups, 83% of Protestants, 72% of Catholics, 62% of those from other religions and 32% of religiously unaffiliated Americans are giving thanks to God.

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